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. Texaiia Committee on Community 
History and Preservation 








Texana McClelland 7 

Texana's Land 7 

Other Black Communities 8 

Knotley 9 


We Used to Have to Carry Water 11 

Carrying Water and Ice 11 

Old Texana Stores 11 

They Had Their Own Land 12 

Taking in Washing 12 

Few People Had Cars 13 


One Room School 15 

Black School in Asheville 15 

Different Schools for Texana Children 16 


Indian Heritage 18 

Put Off the Reservation 18 

At the Pool during Integration 19 

We Had Our Own Little Booth 19 

Certified as an EMT 20 

Interracial Dating 20 


Old Churches 22 

Going to Association by Wagon 22 

Active in Church 22 

Called into the Ministry 23 


We Had Everything 25 

Gathering Greens 25 

Poke Salad 26 

Canning 26 

It Was a Sharing Thing 27 

Milk and Cornbread 27 

Dopes and Belly Washers 27 

Cokes for a Nickel 28 

Texana Cafe 28 

Quilting 28 

Life Was Easy Here 28 


Mountain Lions 31 

Blizzard of '83 31 

A Great Fisherman 32 

UFOs on Texana Road 32 

Three-legged Dogs 34 

Fast Cars 34 

In the House with a Bat 35 

Pet Pig 35 


That's the Man I Married 37 

The Way We Were Raised Up 37 

Peter Jenkins' Visit 38 

Going Pro 39 

Homecoming and Holidays 40 

Newcomers to Texana 40 


Traveling 42 

Trucking 42 

Back Home to Raise my Family 42 

One Big Family 42 


Books 43 

Web Sites 43 

Films 44 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


Texana is a historic black community located high on 
a mountain about a mile from the town of Murphy in 
the Great Smoky Mountain region of North Carolina. 
The Texana community was named for a young woman 
named Texana McClelland, who moved with her family 
to the area around the 1850s. Her real name was 
Texas, but her father called her Texana. Texana was 
the daughter of Isaac and Lucy McClelland. Around 
the 1850s when Texana was a teenager, she met and 
married Henry McAdams. They were the first to move 
into the settlement on the mountain. 

One of the first things that community members did 
when they settled in Texana was build a community 
church. The First Baptist Church in Texana was built 
of logs, hewn by the women who had moved into the 
settlement. In 1881, the community tore down the old 
church and built Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which still 
stands today. 

For many years after the Texana community was 
founded, it was self-sufficient. At one time Texana had 
its own businesses, lawyers, dry cleaners, shoe repair 
service, and water supplier. People raised their own 
gardens, chickens and hogs. The community members 
relied on each other as well, such as during the hunting 
season, canning time and washing days. Much of this 
independent spirit arose from the days of Jim Crow, 
when Texana residents had to be self-sufficient in order 
to survive. One's sense of community, of citizenship, 
arose from membership in the Texana community. 
What had challenged Texana also made it strong. 

School was traditionally very important to members 
of the Texana community, and residents went to great 
lengths to educate their children during Jim Crow and 
today* Since black children were not allowed to attend 
school with white children in the early 1900s, classes 
were first held for black children in the Texana church 
until a small one-room schoolhouse was built. In the 
1920s, a two-room school building was built. During 
this time, when children finished the 7th grade they 
had a choice of whether to continue their education 
or work. Because education was so important to the 
community most children chose to continue on to high 
school. However, Texana children had to leave home to 
get their high school education. Often this meant living 
nearly 2 hours away in Asheville, North Carolina. Even 
as late as 1958, Cherokee County did not have a high 
school for black residents. But in September 1965, the 
Texana School and Murphy schools were integrated. 
The black students who were in the elementary grades 
went to Murphy Elementary School, and those who 
were high school age went to Murphy High School. 
Texana residents still take education very seriously, and 
many community residents hold college degrees. 

Today, Texana has about 150 residents, most of 
whom live along Texana Road on the same mountain 
hillside where Texana McClelland first lived. The only 
difference now is that both black and white people 
live in the community. In fact, many Texana residents 
have grappled with issues of their racial and ethnic 
identity, Texana residents are Appalachian and black; 
furthermore, many Texana residents are descendants 
of Cherokee Indians as well as Africans, Scots-Irish 
Europeans, and people from other cultural back- 
grounds. Unfortunately, tracing the Cherokee heritage 
of many Texanans is almost impossible because very 
few historical records of their past have survived. Still, 
the heritage of Texana people challenges commonly 

held notions of 'who' is considered an Appalachian. 
Many Texanans recognize that ethnic boxes such as 
those found on U.S. Census records are insufficient to 
categorize their diverse heritage and identity. 

Texana residents are proud to live in or come from 
Texana. The land holds great meaning in the commu- 
nity, and Texana people are closely connected to it. The 
land holds for them a sense of place, of comfort, and 
of home, especially since many Texanans own the land 
that has been in their families for generations. Many 
; ^ folks live in close prox- 

"Many Texanans 

recognize that ethnic 

boxes such as those 

found on U.S. Census 

records are insufficient 

to categorize their 

diverse heritage and 


imity to family members, 
and the community is 
very close knit. Everyone 
in the community 
considers each other 
friends and family, and 
residents are welcoming 
to outsiders and visitors 

as well. The friendliness 

^\ r 

and hospitality of resi- 
dents, their respect for the traditions of the past, and 
their strong bonds with each other are quickly noticed 
in Texana. 

Residents have always viewed Texana as a strong 
black community. For example, the diversity that 
Texana McClelland brought to the mountains of 
western North Carolina is not forgotten. Each year 
at homecoming, community members gather at the 
church to read the biography of Texana and recount 
stories of early life in the community. A few years ago 
community members also began an oral history and 
quilt project in order to preserve stories of kinship, 
leadership, and history in the community. 
Like many small or rural communities, Texana is at a 
crossroads. As generations who remember Jim Crow 

are passing, there is an urgency to hear their stories. As 
a result of the changes the community is experiencing, 
in 2003 the idea was formed to put together a proposal 
to the North Carolina Humanities Council that would 
engage the residents of Texana in exploring their 
history and culture. In 2004, the North Carolina 
Humanities Council approved a grant to conduct an 
oral history project in Texana, which has emerged as 
this collection of memories. 

We thank first and foremost the North Carolina 
Humanities Council for supporting this project. We 
also thank Drs, James Clark, Lucinda MacKethan, Walt 
Wolfram, and David Brose of the John C. Campbell 
Folk School, for their scholarly assistance. We are 
indebted to Charlotte Vaughn for designing this book, 
to Barefoot Press of Raleigh for publishing it, and to 
Amanda Driver for her faithful work as fiscal agent. 

Most of all, we thank all the Texana residents who 
participated in this project by contributing your time 
and stories. The project was open to all members of 
the community, and as a result, over 50 people chose 
to participate in interviews related to this project. 
Because of this community involvement, the process 
of recording Texana's local history has been both 
rewarding and successful for all those involved. This 
book and accompanying CD represent the culmination 
of the stories they have told and the memories they 
have shared about life in the Texana community. We 
hope the material accurately reflects the history of this 
strong community, although it is certain that many 
stories about the community remain untold. We know 
the stories will communicate, in their own voices, the 
strength of spirit that Texana residents share. 

Texana Community Center 

Texana Committee on Community 
History and Preservation 

Zula Cox, project sponsor 
Becky Childs and Christine Mallinson, project directors 


Weaving Cultures and Communities 

This project was made possible by a grant from the North 
Carolina Humanities Council, a state-based program of the 
National Endowment for the Humanities. Statements and 

opinions represented in this publication do not necessarily 

represent the view of the North Carolina Humanities 
Council or of the National Endowment for the Humanities, 

Old photographs courtesy of Grace Mauldin and Peter fenkins 

New photographs taken by Becky Childs and 

Christine Mallinson 

© Texana Committee on Community 
History and Preservation 2006 


When Texana was first settled, it was the largest 
black community but not the only one in the 
area. According to residents, one smaller black 
community was called Knotley, which has since 
dispersed but is still the site of a black cemetery. 
Another small community once called On the 
Branch is now a street in downtown Murphy, 
Finally, Harshaw Farm was also a site of a former 
black community and contains a larger slave 
cemetery. Now, it is a golf course. Many histories 
about the diversity of the Murphy area do not 
mention these smaller black communities that 
once existed. As the other, smaller communities 
dispersed, Texana remained the largest commu- 
nity because it was where the largest black school 
was located as well as the Baptist church, which 
had the largest congregation of all the black 
churches in the area. 



Right after the Civil War and everything, the slaves were 
freed. Texana McClelland was the first inhabitant on this 
mountain. And she bought a lot of land. And the fact 
that she bought a lot of land, the family ended up buying 
a lot of land. And my mother lived in the first house in 
Texana. And that's the first house on the lefthand side as 
you come up this mountain. It's a, what it is is a log cabin, 
a huge log cabin. But now it's been overlaid with modern 
material. And that we would naturally call the family 
home. And uh. Aunt Texana, understand, when she came 
here, had to live in a little, a little shack. She built a little 
tiny shack when she first came up, you know. No water, 
no lights. Other, other folks came. Aunt Texana came 
up from my grandmother's side of the family. That's how 
all, all them got to be. And they're very long livers, I tell 
you. My grandmother's father was 111, my grandmother 
just about 100, wasn't she? And I had a brother in his 
late 90s, and her sister in her late 90s, so they were all 
long livers. I don't know what they did, but evidently they 
were doing something right. 



But she was a slave. Now I believe she came off of 
Harshaw Farms, They used to have slaves there. With 
her being a slave, how was she able to buy land? By saving 
her money, by working. So she just saved it up working for 
a job and bought it for herself? Well it took her a while, I'm 
assuming, buying her first piece. She bought the initial 
part of the land. Now where the land really came from 
was my grandfather's father. This guy had a tremendous 
amount of land all around, I mean, on top of this 
mountain and below. He had so much across Joe Brown 
Highway over here, he had a sawmill. 



Anyway, I remember my mom telling me, see, most of 
the people lived in the Texana community. This was the 
largest community. But there was always other communi- 
ties. And there was, they used to live out there, what they 
called Knotley. But they had to come over here to go to 
school. 'Cause my girlfriend, she passed away last year, 
that lived next door to me. She would always say they 
lived at Knotley. But they'd have to walk over here to 
school. And there's a black cemetery still at Knotley. It's 
out 64, right in there I think where, have you seen some 
of those little buildings painted purplef That's Knotley. 
And there's a cemetery, a black cemetery, on the hill. So 
then, I don't know about out at the golf course, if anybody 
lived out in there or not. I think that's a slave cemetery, 

out there at Harshaw 
Farm. I think that's 
a slave cemetery, so 
I don't know. They 
probably slaves lived 
on the farm back 
there then. But they 
lived at Knotley, then 
back then they had 
a, we called it, it's a 
street now in town, 
but we called it On 
the Branch. I think 
because a branch run 
through there. That's 
where my mother's 
people came from 
town. And when 
she married, she 
lived in town. Then they lived across town. But they live 
anywhere now they want to. Right there where it's got 
that sign, coming like from Hayesville, says "Welcome to 

Texana McClelland's daughter 
Marie and her grandchildren 


Murphy." There was a community, even a black church 
that sat right in there. And it was a Episcopal church. 
And then we had a Methodist church over there, and then 
the Baptist church. But they was few people, and but like 
I said, there used to be a lot of people, more people than 
now, but when they took their families and left, the fami- 
lies went away, they married and had families, you know. 



It was like a community for black people out there on 64. 
And they wanted that land, so they moved us over here. 
Now see if my mama and daddy and all them was alive, 
they could tell you. I don't know what happened, why 
they moved us over here. It was just a little section over 
there on 64. And we had a school down here, it was a 
little red school, three rooms I think. So we had to come 
home like for lunch, go back. 

Texana hillside 



In the early days, residents of Texana worked 
hard* Daily chores for adults and children alike 
were parts of early life that feature strongly in 
the memories of residents. One of these chores 
included carrying cold water from a spring in a 
hollow at the foot of the mountain, since there 
was no running water in Texana until the 1960s. 
For many years after the Texana community was 
founded, it was self-sufficient and had its own 
businesses. Now, residents go downtown into 
Murphy for their goods and services. 




Yeah, there were less houses. Because, I mean, famiHes 
were big. They had, all houses had the big room so they 
put like three or four beds in that room. That's the way 
we had to do it. And we had to carry water. Way out 
here at the forks in the road, there used to be a spring 
way back out in that hollow. But we used to have to 
carry water from out there to cook, eat, I mean, to drink, 
take baths. And back then, we could only get a bath on 
Sunday night. We had this old tin tub. We'd have to heat 
the water on the wood stove, til they finally got water 
coming through here. We hadn't had water too long, back 
in the '60s I think, the '60s, that's right. 



Water was gotten in the morning, cold water was in the 
morning, and cold water at night. Have you ever drink 
water out of a spring? No, It's like drinking out of a 
refrigerator. It's good and cold. A lot of people, like I 
said, had cows. And you'd milk the cows and put the milk 
in jugs and butter. And then you'd put it in the spring 
and that would keep the milk cold and butter soft. They 
would cut ice out of the river during the winter. And they 
would store it on Fain Mountain inside of the cave and to 
throw sawdust on top of the ice. And it would last until 



We had a shoe shop, probably the only shoe shop in town, 
for a while. And that was at the end of this street here. 
His name was Jay Blackwell. Mr. Arthur Allen had a 
little store up here. Mr. Fulwood had a store right where 
you turn off the drive to come down here, there was two 
stores. You talking about a funeral home. Well he didn't 


"It was not so much 

even that they went 

to school for this all 

the time* It was just, 

they just learned 


have a funeral home, he just did bodies. I just remember 
my grandmother talking about it. 



Texana had their own laundry, they had policemen, black 
policemen. Texana had the only shoemaker. They had, 
back then, you know, things were segregated, I don't know 
how they did it. They had their own land, they did all the 
embalming of the dead. Texana, and see, I remember this, 
the only shoe shop was my uncle's. He was in town, then 

he moved. He made leather j ^ 

sandals. Everybody from 
downtown, they just started 
coming over here. They 
had two grocery stores over 
here, the community. So 
really we have gone back- 
wards to a certain extent ^ ^ 

instead of forward. Well, 

they had back then midwives, cause a lot of the women 
didn't go in to have their babies. They had midwives. 
Two doors up, the building that's been torn down, which 
was my uncle's. Oh they had the only floor finisher. He 
worked all around, you know, different counties, and go 
in and finish people's floors. They had carpenters, they 
had bricklayers, I mean, they had — and it was not that so 
much even that they went to school for this all the time. 
It was just, they just learned themselves. It was skills. 
But they had all of this, things like that, but we don't, they 
don't have it anymore. 



My grandmother tells me that she took in washing. She 
took in washing when they didn't have washing machines. 
There's a large spring below her house, going down. She'd 


have three wash tubs and a rinse tub down there, and and 
she'd wash by hand. I don't know if you've ever seen those 
scrub boards or rub boards or whatever. She'd have that. 
And the last tub or two she would use to rinse in. The 
water was cold from the spring. The water was heated 
up in a hot, in a big old pot and you know, dipped out 
and put in these tubs. And she did the washing and the 
ironing and delivered the clothes back to the people. 



You didn't get cars, no. There was very few people. Well, 
even in my early marriage, there was very few people had 
cars. Now at one time, we did have a bus, you know, that 
would come through and you'd go downtown, but most 
people. Which I guess they was much healthier than 
we are now, but they would walk. And to me, now, I've 
walked it a many a time, but to now, I'd never get back! 
So but, and then several of them walks now. You know, 
they just want to walk. 

Texan a land 



Originally, classes in Texana were first held for 
black children in the Texana church until a small 
one-room schoolhouse was built in the location 
where the community building now stands. This 
school had one teacher, and students attended 
school three months out of the yean Black 
teachers came from outside Texana, living in the 
community during the months that school was 
in session but not moving into the community 
permanently. In the 1920s, a red two- or three- 
room school building was built that included a 
kitchen. At this school, children could only take 
classes until the 7th grade, at which time they 
either continued their education outside Texana 
or found work. Pursuing further education was 
expensive, because children had to be sent away 
to school. Still, some families made the sacrifice, 
Cherokee County did not have a high school for 
black residents as late as 1958, In September 
1965, the Texana school and Murphy schools 
were integrated: younger black students were 
sent to Murphy Elementary School, and those 
who were high school age went to Murphy High 




Well, there used to be a school, a one room school 
down in there right where that community building 
used to be. It was a big building but it was just a one 
room school. That's the reason that children wanted to 
finish high school, they had to go off. That's the reason, 
Frank, my husband, that's the reason he went to King's 
Mountain and several of them went to King's Mountain 
and finished. Then there was a private girls' school over in 
Asheville, they'd go, a lot of them went over there to that 
private girls' school in Asheville and finished high school. 
That's about the way it was, yeah, cause they couldn't, they 
couldn't go to school over here, which was a terrible thing. 



I didn't go to a integrated school, when I left Murphy I 

went to Asheville and still I went to a black school, there 

in Asheville; big, big school but 

you know, it's all black. Before 

they could go to school in Murphy, 

did people go to school here in 

Texana? Was there a school? 

Where was it at? Right in there 

where the community building 

is right up through there they 

had I guess like a little two room 

school or it might have been 

three rooms. After I left from 

down there, I went to school down there too. And they 

had the dining room and you know. And they got really 

basically the same thing because it was a teacher that 

she taught all of the — matter of fact, I think to a certain 

extent we got more. Because peer pressure wasn't as 

tight on children as it is now and I think the children — I 

and I think we were all just about we were all probably 

Murphy High School 


"You know, we all 
were like Godfearing 
children because our 

parents taught us 

this and we respected 


poor and didn't know it. You 

know, we all were like God 

fearing children because our 

parents taught us this and 

we respected people not only 

my mother somebody else's 

mother they could really get 

onto me — sit me down, take 

me home or if they whipped me for something it was 

perfectly all right. So I think really and truly. And then 

as far as our teaching and learning I never will forget. I 

had a teacher. Ms. Dennis was from Texas, she taught, 

and she would always say, you girls have got to be lady 

like. She taught us how to cross our legs. We could not 

chew chewing gum. And she you know just those things 

that we were taught. Right, And she taught like home ec, 

cooking, and plus your other subjects. So we got a little 

bit of everything. 



You see, we had a school down here, up there, right 
above where the new community building is. And see 
that was just the grammar school, and the kids had to go 
somewheres else to high school before they integrated it. 
So did your son go to school up there? Well, Harry, I think 
he went a year way out to the high school, they had inte- 
grated it then. But Julia, we had to send her to Asheville 
to get her high school education. She lived at the school, 
it was a girls', what was it, Allen's, Allen High School. 
Now when she went to school there, did the state give you any 
money? I think, they gave me a little bit. I don't know 
how much it was. It was, shoot, I don't know, it was in 
the teens. Not much, Uh-uh, uh-uh. But she didn't work 
while she was in school. We just, done without, did what 
we could for her, you know. Got her through high school. 
It was several of them went to Allen. 



Details about Texana's history are few and far 
between. Historical records document the 
presence of African Americans as slaves in and 
around western North Carolina and Appalachia, 
but because slaves tended to take the surnames 
of their owners, it is difficult for Texana residents 
to trace their genealogical history to the days of 
slavery. But despite not being able to accurately 
detail their genealogy, residents are clear as to the 
ethnic diversity of their heritage. Many Texana 
residents are descendants of African, Cherokee, 
and Irish-European ancestors, which is the case 
for many black Appalachians, particularly those 
whose ancestors were slaves. However, Texana's 
diverse history is not formally recognized. 
Nowadays, as a result of both their mixed 
ancestry and of the history that embittered many 
families, Texana residents have had to grapple 
with issues of ethnic identity and the fact that 
their heritage is often more diverse than the 
single term 'African American" denotes. As a 
result, most Texanans self-identify as "black," a 
term based on the color of their skin rather than 
on any single racial or ethnic identity. 




My grandfather's side are blacks and Indians, Now 
I'm talking about the people that originally came. To 
Texana? Now, I don't remember any of them on the 
Indian roll. And I don't believe it was because they were 
stupid Indians. That the people who were in charge of 
the rolls kept them off. The Indians, I found out later on, 
are also prejudiced people. And they referred to blacks 
as clouds. You'd come down the street, this is what the 
older ones tell me, they see you coming, they would refer 
to you as a cloud, like a cloud going by. In the family, this 
was never really talked about much, their Indian heritage. 
My mother went to Virginia Union, a college in Virginia, 
And they would often ask her what she was. But she was 
never, I guess, sharp enough to say I'm either black or 
I'm Indian, and she said she was always left puzzled. But 
her family never discussed it with her, you know, why she 
looked so different. They have a letter as of right now 
that was written to the president of the United States, 
a copy of the letter, asking why were they asked to be 
removed off of the reservation? 



I guess we got put off the reservation because my fore 
parents, my great-grand- 

mother was a slave and 

they was fighting the slaves. 

Slave blood — that's the 

reason all of my people 

got put off the Indian 

reservation. And our land 

was taken away from us. 

,,.But the Cherokee people 

learned that my great-great-grandmother had been a 

slave, so they opposed to my great-great-grandfather 


"Slave blood — that's 

the reason all of my 

people got put off the 

Indian reservation* 

And our land was taken 

away from us" 

having the land and they all had the land and they all 
had the services you know all enjoyed the services. And 
they began fighting. It's very political.,. Oh yes. To get 
your name, you have to be on the roll. We have a copy of 
the roll and mother's family is on the roll, but when this 
fight went on that grandfather lost the land, they took the 
name off. 



We could not go swimming over there to the swimming 

pool. Then after we got 

to going to school and 

stuff, they finally let us 

go into the pool, but 

for only one reason: we 

had to shower before 

we got into the water. 

Yes, we sure did, I'll 

never forget. We did, 

we had to shower before 

we could jump into 

the pool. The white 

kids was already in the 

pool. If you come out of the pool, and bought a snack or 

something like that, you had to shower to go back into the 

pool. We didn't really care, I guess cause we were young, 

didn't know no better, or you know, kids just wanting 

to swim. So we didn't really care. That's what it is. We 

didn't care as long as we got to swim. 

Basketball court 



Well whenever we used to go to the show, we went in 
and we had to cut back up to the left and go up some 
stairs. So when we go up to the stairs, we would stand in 
a booth area, probably about from this wall to the kitchen 


wall. Where blacks sit. Really? So we didn't sit down in 
the bottom part with them at all. But we all had to pay 
the same. But yeah, we had our own little booth. The guy 
next door here, J.T., he used to run the film thing, so he'd 
be sitting up in there with us, running the film thing or 
whatever. But yeah, then eventually we started you know 
getting to go down in the bottom part and sit anywhere 
you want to then. 



At Tri'County, I was certified, now listen here, as an 
emergency medical technician. Certified to work on any 
ambulance in the state of North Carolina. Did you do it? 
No. Even after getting certified. But why I didn't do it, 
is because I couldn't get a job. And I had problems with 
that. They only had white males, white males. Then, I'm 
raising Sam, you know, well look man, I've got this degree, 
I'm just as smart as anyone else. And they just had this 
little quarter, and they'd do like 24 hours. And you have 
to sleep there. They don't have nothing to accommodate 
a woman. So you know, I got all this for nothing. So 
then years later I would still keep getting recertified, now 
they've hired a woman. So then I'd go back, hey yo, I still 
got mine, what up. They don't need anybody. And, you 
know, so then after a while, it's, forget it. 



It was our age group that had the racist problems. Now 
at school you see a lot of mixed relationships. Back 
when we was going to school, they didn't want us at the 
high school. Well the teachers would talk to you. Yeah, 
like when I come through, they would say it wasn't 
appropriate. We could hang out and stuff, but dating, no. 
We never had a racial problem, you know, everybody got 



■■\!T, Zl^'^ '- 
1%.^ BAPTIST ^1T 

Mt. Zion Baptist Church sign 

When Texana was first settled, one of the initial 
projects undertaken was the building of the 
community church. The First Baptist Church 
in Texana was built of logs, hewn by the women 
who had moved into the settlement. In 1881, the 
community tore down the old church and built 
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which stands today. 




In the Afro-American communities of old, the church 
was the one thing going. So it was very common practice 
that as people came to a community, they went to church. 
And at that time, we probably had two churches. Yeah, 
there was a Methodist church. Methodist church and a 
Baptist church. It went down. More people went to the 
Baptist church and fewer went to the Methodist church. 
And at one time though, it wasn't in the Texana commu- 
nity, then there was the Episcopalian church. That's right. 
I forgot about that. After integration, you know, they 
integrated. So, well the Methodist church as it was, the 
AME Zion Methodist church, died out because nobody 



Yeah, we went to association, well what we called asso- 
ciation. It would last from Thursday to Monday, The 
association. WJjat was it? Church meeting. And we 
went from Bryson City to Franklin. Well we didn't call it 
Franklin, we called it Macon County. And we went there 
in a wagon, and we'd walk part of the way. And how long 
did it take? All day. When we'd come back, before we left 
from where we stayed, and they went up on the mountain 
and got peaches. And those were the best peaches we ever 
seen. They were what I called Indian peaches, you know. 
They were so good. 



I do go to church now. I'm the superintendent of the 
Sunday School and I teach Sunday school, the primary 
class. I've got five different classes. That's my church right 
there, you know, then I belong to other churches cause 


I'm supposed to go to Canton a week from, a week from 
Saturday, to women's missionary auxiliary and I'm the 
vice president of it. We meet every quarter, every three 
months, and it meets at different churches. But we have 
a glorious time, we always have a guest speaker. So you've 
been real active in the church. Oh yes, my husband and 
myself was. I said he was deacon up there and he was very, 
very, very active in church, yeah. I been in to Raleigh, 
Shaw University, he and I both. Yeah, we studied down 
there, I went and took training in Vacation Bible School, 
And I took deaconess training when my husband was 
taking deacon training, why, we just took different things 
like that. On his vacation, we'd get in that car and away 
we'd go. 



My dad had gone into, well he had been called into the 
ministry. But he wasn't sure. He asked the Lord if this 
meant for me to preach, let this be a male child. And so 
here comes my brother. Three years, he still wasn't sure 
that this is what the Lord wanted him to do, so when my 
mom got pregnant with me, three years later, he said okay, 
if this is it, I will accept it, but let this be a female child. 
He got his answer. 

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, organized in 1881 and stood 
until 1941, when the current structure was built and later renovated 




Living close to the land allowed Texana residents 
to grow and preserve food, meaning that early 
families hardly ever had to go to the store except 
for staples like flour and sugan Most families 
raised their own gardens, kept fruit trees, picked 
berries, hunted animals, and owned cows, horses, 
mules, chickens, and hogs. Men and women also 
fished, often from a nearby lake that contained 
bass, trout, pike, and other fish. All these foods 
lasted throughout the year and were preserved 
by canning. Despite scarce money and resources, 
hard work and hard times, food was always good 
and plentiful. 




See we owned all this around here. We raised our garden, 
we had our cows, we had our horse, mule, we had a mule. 
We had chickens, we had everything. Hogs, we raised 
hogs. And we had our own vegetables, and I canned, 
food. That's one thing. You didn't have to hardly go to 
the store at all then. No, just for, just the things that you 
couldn't. Flour, sugar. Yeah, stuff such as that. I canned, 
and I canned my vegetables and all. We had apple trees, 
and things, you know. 



When greens went out 

of season, she would, 

honest to God I believe 

there was sometimes we 

ate weeds and grass. But 

it was good. She would 

go find something. You 

would see them, her sister 

and her neighbor would 

call her. And they'd get 

their little bags together 

and their knives, and 

there wouldn't be any 

greens anywhere. But 

they would come back 

with a mess, they called 

it a mess, and it was a 

mess of something. It 

was. Blue thistle, dandelion, narrow-leaved dock, Indian 

turnips, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I think 

we're lucky to still be here! Well, how do you make poke 

salad? Oh, delicious. A chicken, wash him good, let him 

boil, drain that water off of it, rinse him two or three time 

View ofTexana landjrom 
Texana Community Center 


in cold water, squeeze all the water out, and fry it. Some 
people put eggs in it. You can fry it with eggs in it or 
onions. And some people use the berry, when it blooms 
out, that yellow bloom. They cook it and it looks like eggs 
and cheese. Really? And take the stalk. You cut them off 
like you do okra, and fry them. Believe me, nothing was 



Tell them about poke salad. You ever heard, you ever 
ate collard greens? It's like that but it grows in the wild. 
Oh really? You boil it and fry some eggs and some bacon 
grease or something like that. You just get lettuce, out of 
your garden, you just get stuff out of your garden, bacon 
grease, small onions. Bacon grease. Pour it over, put the 
onions in it. Chop it all up in there and just eat all you 



My mama canned beans, she canned corn, she didn't can, 
she'd can corn on the cob. And people would say, we'd go 
to school sometimes and have corn on the cob. They'd 
say, oh you got pickled corn. It wouldn't be pickled corn. 
It would be just regular corn, just like you'd go out in the 
field and pull the corn. That's the way she'd can it. And it 
would be just like fresh corn, like people put stuff in the 
freezers now. You know, like my mom, she would can all 
this stuff. She'd can squash, she'd can tomatoes. She'd can 
peaches, apples, pear. Anything come by, she would can 
it. She'd can ribs, she'd can backbones, she'd can sausage. 
And all this stuff she would can. She canned fish. She 
would can fish. My uncle fished all the time. He'd bring 
that fish and mom would can fish. She'd can chicken. All 
this stuff. And when we'd get ready, the fish, she'd fry it 
and have it ready. All you have to do is open up a can and 
pour it in, you know, warm it up and eat it. 




Somebody 'd kill a hog, everybody in the community got 
some of it. Somebody killed chickens, everybody got 
chickens. Gardens, you got, give everybody a mess of you 
know, corn, green beans, whatever. Green beans, corn, 
greens, whatever they had in the garden, cucumbers, 
squash. They had, you know, it was just a sharing thing. 



It was never anyone passing by that needed to sleep 
overnight. My grandmother, she would always let them 
sleep. And then we had cattle, and you know, milk cows 
and stuff. She'd fix her milk and butter, and she'd make 
big pans of cornbread. Somebody 'd come by over in the 
night and want a glass of milk and a piece of cornbread. 
She could give it to them. And she kept a big table set all 
the time, with food all over that table. And at night she 
would cover it with a big tablecloth, you know. Anytime 
of night, somebody 'd come by hungry, they could eat. 
Anytime we wanted to get up and eat, we could eat. And 
I know a lot of kids I have talked to would say, well my 
mom give us supper, and she doesn't allow us to go back 
in, you know, the kitchen to get stuff We could get up 
any time of night we wanted to and go eat. 



I heard that like a soda used to he called a dope? A dope. 
That's what my grandfather did, he made dopes! And a 
cookie used to be called a big wheel, didn't it, a big wheel. 
What was it, what was that, a big RCf Belly gushers, or 
belly washers, or something like that. Chitlins and pig 
feet and pigs' knuckles and what's that one, oxtails? Pigs' 
knuckles and pig snout. Tongue. Ear. Kidney, yeah. You 
ate everything. My granddaddy used to say you ate the 


pig from the rooter to the tooter! Nothing in the pig was 



It was cheaper back then than it is now! Like cookies, ten 
for a nickel. Cokes were a nickel. Back then, it was back 
then. Now you have to pay a dollar for a Coke. 



They had what they called, like we had a cafe. It was like 
a night spot, but they served food, you know. And my 
uncle up here, they had his store, you know they served 
food, hot dogs, and then sometimes on Sunday, they'd 
serve, you know, you could buy a whole meal. But there 
was certain things now you did have to go downtown and 
buy, but it was here. 



Now I can set, I can set and make quilt tops. I cut up my 
own pattern, how I want them, get me some cloth and 
stuff and set down and cut out a box of material. And 
just set them and start sewing them together. I go in my 
bedroom set them on the bed and just start sewing them 
together. Oh I just draw them, the way I want them to go. 



Living in Murphy has its good points. As a child, I lived 
here and I really enjoyed it. You had to work, had little 
yard jobs. Sounds rough, and it was rough during the 
summer. But I found out that I could make just as much 
money as any adult could, by contracting yards to cut, 
houses to clean. I did exceptionally well. So that part was 


good. Then, then my hfe 
was easy here. There was a 
big lake behind the house. 
And we'd run down to the 
lake in the afternoons and 
in the early mornings. A 
bunch of the guys, and wed 
go skinny dipping out in the 
lake. And it was, I enjoyed 
that part of my life. And 
then we had one of the best 
baseball teams around. I 
think we might have won 
city championship one year, 
I'm talking about before integration. The black and white 
kids got along great. You wouldn't, you would not have 
thought there was such a thing as segregation because 
we played together. We really did. And we got to get to 
know each other personally, so, it was not a bad time. 

"I'm talking about 

before integration. The 

black and white kids 

got along great. You 

wouldn't, you would 

not have thought there 

was such a thing as 

segregation because we 

played together. We 

really did. And we 

got to get to know each 

other personally, so, it 

was not a bad time." 

Downtown Murphy 



Texana Community Center 

Although this project primarily focused on 
recording and documenting Texana's history, this 
collection of memories also includes residents' 
tales about mountain culture, entertainment, 
and ghost stories and legends. These memories 
also speak to the shared sense of community and 
culture that is found among residents in Texana, 




Now there's mountain lion, mountain lions. They're one 
or two here but you hardly ever see them. I've heard one 
one time and haven't heard another one since. Well, fact 
of the matter is, there was a guy telling me, I think last 
year, we was up and he was telling me about the one came 
through his yard over by the Hayesville High School. 



Lets see it was in '70, no '83. We had a blizzard and I 
was without, oh of course whole Texana — I was without 
power for seven days, and I heat with a heat pump. And 
that's electricity, you know. But I had a little kerosene 
heater and if I hadn't had that I'd had to left home, but 
that's, what little cooking I did, I did it on it, and that's 
what kept me warm. It was about six families of us was 
the last ones that got the power back, cause the power 
lines run in different directions. And some peoples was 
uh in different communities was out of power for two 
weeks. And oh boy we had a blizzard, oh and snow, and it 
blew a tree down. I used to have shade trees out back and 
it blew a tree against my door and that tree stayed there 
up against that door four or five days. Yeah. Yeah cause 
I couldn't move it, couldn't get out! So how'd you get out, 
just somebody... Well, my telephone never did go out and 
I called my sister and she brought some of my nephews 
down here and they brought the axe and saw and they 
got it, took it, cut it loose and where I could get out. Then 
took the shovel and shoveled me a road out up to the trail 
out up to the road there, you know, through the snow, in 
case I could get a ride to town or somewhere, you know. 




And what about Lovers Leap, where s that? It's just right 
down there, right where the, you remember the bridge you 
come over, coming, well, you look down that mountain 
and right there that's Lover's Leap. The waters up now, the 
lake's coming up. We got a big lake here and it's filling up, 
yep, that's where Lovers Leap is. And they said there was 
a girl and a boy that was in love or something and I think 
they jumped off years and years ago and you know I guess 
they drowned, killed themselves, and that's how I think it 
got that name Lovers Leap on account of those two. So in 
the lake down there do a lot oj people go to the lake and fish 
and do that kind of stuff? Oh yeah, I'm a great fisherman 
myself, I haven't been fishing. Yeah I love to fish, I haven't 
been fishing since Frank's been gone. 'Cause that's all we 
did is fish. What kind offish are down there? Oh all kinds, 
bass, pike, trout. You name it. Yeah, the lake's full of all 
kinds. My husband would clean it you know, scrape it 
and scales and he'd cut it open, you know, take the inside 
out and cut the head off and I'd wash it, salt and pepper 
it, roll it in, most of the time I'd roll mine in corn meal, 
and then in hot oil and it'd be delicious. And a lot of times 
we'd come back with so many, we'd give them away. Yeah, 
we'd give^ them away. 



One time, my best girlfriend, something got after us. You 
know you hear about these UFOs, stuff like that. Now 
we really did have this experience. She would stay at my 
house till it got so dark that she was scared to go home. 
So she would see if I could spend the night with her. 
And that way, that was our plan. Or I'd do the same, stay 
at her house real late, cause if I could spend the night. 
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But if one couldn't they'd 
let the other one cause the other one so scared to go by 
theyself. So one day, Renee wanted to spend the night 


Texana Road and Joe Broivn Highway sign 

with me. So she 
called her grand- 
mother, grand- 
mother said no. 
Then she's scared, 
she's crying and 
stuff, and then she 
wants me to spend 
the night with 
her. Oh. So then 
my friend decide 
to beg my mom, 
"Oh she's just 
devastated, please, 
please." So my 

mom would let me spend the night with her. I don't know 
what was it, we walking up the hill, this way, coming up 
through here. And I'm like on this side and Renee's right 
here. And we walking and I look over the back, and I see 
this big ball. It's glowing and it's orange. And I'm just 
like,"nah, you know just, nah it ain't nothing," you know. 
And I'm still walking, you know. Then I look back over 
my side again, and it has risen up. And, so, but Renee, I 
still ain't say nothing to her and I'm not sure she see it or 
not. So I'm still not saying anything. We just walking. 
Then I look over the back again and I don't see it. Then 
I'm like "well, you know." But then for some reason I feel 
some heat or something other and I look back, me and 
Renee did at the same time. It's right behind us. We like, 
we were scared and"Ahhh!" you know, at the same time. 
So we take off running as fast as we can. And we still 
looking back and every time we look back it's with us. It's 
just a-bouncing behind us. It's not touching the ground. 
It's bouncing in the air. Just like this behind us as we run. 
We run all the way to her grandmother's, and we open 
the door and we just fall out in the floor, and we're crying 
and we screaming, and we just can't breathe. We that 
scared. "What's wrong with you all," you know. And we 


tell them, you know, what had happened. And then her 
grandmother tell us it's some mineral, this or that, they 
just form, bah bah bah bah. Or the way we run it's the 



Three-legged dogs, that's where, my street where I live, 
coming out and stuff. They say, you know. You know how 
you're talking about Texana. You know that big old place 
with the grass and stuff. Look to the right. At nighttime 
or something, they said, there's a big ball that glow. My 
mom said that she was chased, her and her friend, she 
walked her home and was chased by a ball or something 
that would glow and like. When you get in the sunlight, 
like the moonway, it disappear. But it's like still beside 
you in a tree or something. And that like, a place on my 
street, somebody was telling me like, at 1:00 exactly, look 
through the window, you'll see a man look through the 
window. I don't know. They tell some scary stuff. I mean, 
I try not to listen or hear it. 



Back then, you know, 110 was top speed back then, and 
you had to have a good car. You loaded it down, put 
you about 20, 25 cases in that thing, and you had to 
have a awful good motor to pull it fast. I'd take mine 
to Chattanooga and different places, and a guy came 
in here from Atlanta that knowed a whole lot about a 
car. We put three dual carburetors and everything at 
different time and we done everything to make it run 
fast. Whenever I had some and they run into me, we 
had to race. But you couldn't get by with that now. We 
run around here about all night one night. They couldn't 
catch me. 




We had lived in this old, old house. My daddy died 
before he finished it, so you know, it had holes in it, and 
bats came in. And one come in one night. He was naked 
as a jaybird! And we all, the bat came in, and he was 
laying there, crying and kicking them legs and hands. 
And we all ran off and left him in the house! With the 
bat! We left him, so I had to come back in and get him. 



Oh, we had a pet pig named Rode, like a horse. ltd come 
in the house. Yeah, and then we wouldn't eat it, cause 
it was a pet. It used to follow my mama to church. We 
would have to go get it and bring it back. It was just an 
old pet. And then, they wouldn't eat it after they killed it. 
I don't much blame them, cause you raised it like a dog. 


K^ ^ 

Mountain vista 



The earliest Texana residents originally settled 
high and close to Texana Road. Many of the 
earliest houses in Texana are still standing — 
meaning that many houses are often the same 
ones in which residents' parents, grandparents, 
and other ancestors once lived; even houses that 
have been renovated often remain on the same 
land owned by a family for generations. For 
this reason, also, many residents live in close 
proximity to several generations of their family 
members, which contributes to the close-knit 


Roscoe Hall, Mary Elizabeth Lloyd, 
Mae Hyatt, and Zach Oliver 



We would come up every summer to visit my daddy's 
brother. And this boy he Hved up above my uncle's where 
he hved. And we called ourselves sweethearts. We were 
just little kids at that time. And that's the man I married. 
Went back home, stayed years and years, and finished 
high school and everything. And then we moved up here, 
and that's the man I married. 



I was taught by my grandmother, we never turned no 
one away. If anyone come by and they were hungry, we 
fed them. My mother would always cook enough where 
like if it's six in the family she'd cook enough for seven 
or eight, where if anybody came by hungry, feed them. 
That's just the way we were raised up. If anyone comes by 
and don't have a place to stay give them a bed to sleep in. 




Back when Peter came through, the kids were playing 
basketball, over to the rock gym, they had our basketball 
goal outside. And they were playing. And he came by, 
and what caught their eye, he had a big dog. A husky. 
And they fell in love with that dog first thing. And so 
Peter had been taking a bath in the river. He had his 
soap, and he'd go down to the river and take a bath. And 
the kids, they came up and wanted to play basketball 
with him, so he did. They brought him, they didn't 
bring him home with him that day, they brought him to 
Texana. And the community building used to be a old 
schoolhouse. I mean, it was the old schoolhouse where 
the community building is now. So they went to the old 
schoolhouse and made a fire and all that stuff and stayed 
down there. That night. Peter did, they came home, 
but he stayed. So the next night they moved him a little 
closer. And the next night they moved him right up from 

my house, between 
my uncle's house, 
where he lived, and 
my trailer, you know, 
they moved him right 
behind my trailer. 
They didn't bring him 
to the house. So the 
next night, they eased 
him on down. And 
he brought his tent 
down, put it in my 
yard. And they came 
in and said, mama, 
can Peter sleep out 
in the yard, in the tent? So I, quite naturally, I said yes. 
And when I cooked, I cooked enough for him to eat too. 
So I said, I have to go to work. So I got ready and went 
to work. I worked at night then. So I went on to work. 

Peter Jenkins 


The next morning I came home, and Cooper, the big dog, 
was out there and I was scared to come home. I would 
not pass him, I started screaming, and finally Peter woke 
up and he came out and got Cooper to where I could go 
into the house. And I cooked breakfast, and they all had 
breakfast, and Peter, the kids wanted to know if he could 
come in and have breakfast, and I said well sure. So he 
came in and had breakfast. Then at night, I fixed lunch, I 
mean my dinner, he ate dinner, and then Peter just got to 
come in and eat all the time. And then we had a tornado 
hit here. And on the night of the tornado, his tent was 
out there in the yard. The clouds, those were the funniest 
looking clouds I've ever seen in my life. And up above the 
clouds, it just looked like fire wrapped over the clouds. 
And Frank Jr., he says, "it's fixing to come a tornado." So 
he says, "Peter out there in that yard, he'll get blowed 
away." So, he said tell him to come in, let him come in the 
house. So he came in the house, in my trailer, this great 
big dog in my little bitty trailer! The dog and all of us in 
there. But he stayed in there until the tornado was over. 
And from that night on, he came in the house to live. 
And he lived there five months and a half. He got to be a 
part of the family. 



I told J.C. he get pro, don't go that crazy with all them 
cars. What he gonna do with all them cars. Just need 
one, that's all you need! If that one tear up, have it fixed 
or either go get you another one, you know? I told him I 
wanted a house and a Jeep. That's all I want. He told me 
one time, he was talking about, I guess he was bout maybe 
15, 16, he told me one time if he move away, you know 
play ball, professional ball. He told me I was moving 
with him, I told him no I'm not! I told him just build 
me a house right up here and you can go on and do your 
business. I stay here you can live by yourself. There you 
go. I said don't you get tired of seeing mama. Yeah, so 


he wanted me to move with him one time, but I believe I 
done got on his nerves so he ain't gonna want me to move 
with him now. 

Murphy High School Jootball stadium 



We got homecoming coming up. Tliat's where they have 
homecoming at the church. Yeah. And everybody will 
come in. Then like for Labor Day, we'll have a lot of 
people come in. Christmas, families come in. Fourth 
of July. See like Memorial Day, we barbecued, we had a 
good time. 



And we know we've been noticing, there's a lot of black 
families living in Murphy now. We don't know who they 
are or where they come from. Y'know, you go downtown 
to Wal-Mart. And that's what I say about the city life is 
so different. When I see somebody in the store, black, I 
automatically greet em. And they don't. 



Texana residents of all generations share an 
attachment to place. They express deep ties to 
western North Carolina as a region, as well as to 
Texana and Murphy specifically. As can be seen 
in this collection of memories, the attachment 
to place that Texanans feel is simultaneously 
an attachment to community, family ties, and 
mountain culture. 




I was born here, but I left and went to uh, Indiana, in uh, 
'69, yeah. Stayed up there eighteen years and I moved 
back here in uh '87, yeah. 'Cause you know when I first 
left there wasn't no jobs, but you know, Hke a hard labor 
like baling hay and cutting wood, and stuff like that. 



Yeah, when I was with Champion, I had another boy 
riding with me. And we'd go out, some weeks we'd stay 
two to three weeks. Nothing but riding. I reckon you 
just, you just get used to it. We'd run, sometime we'd run 
12 hour shift. One guy got 12 hours and then the other 
one would drive 12. But we hardly had a layover. They 
had paper, so many paper places that we was able to go 
into one of their places and just drop a trailer and get in 
there and just keep going. 



Yeah, that was my brother and some of my cousins. And 
our band had two or three names, we were the Chain of 
Fools. Miss Mauldin's son, which done made it big now 
'cause he stuck with it, and then his son Jermaine. But I 
came back home in — after it was all over, it was, looks like 
I was just running around in circles, and nothing positive 
wasn't gonna happen. So I just came back home to raise 
my family. 



This is just one big family. You know other than the 
ones that were like brought in. But you know Texana is 
just — everybody's kin. 



For those who are interested in further understanding 
and investigating the diversity and unique heritage of 
Appalachia and western North CaroHna, the following 
resources have been recommended by Texana residents 
and by this project's humanities scholars. 


A Walk Across America. By Peter Jenkins. St. Helens, OR: 
Perennial Press. 2001. 

Appalachians and Race: T\k Mountain South from Slavery to 
Segregation. Edited by John C. Inscoe. Lexington: 
University Press of Kentucky. 2001 

Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes: Back Talk from an 

American Region. Edited by Dwight B. Billings, Gurney 
Norman, and Katherine Ledford. Lexington: 
University Press of Kentucky, 1999. 

Cultural Diversity in the U.S. South. Edited by Carole E. Hill and 
Patricia D. Beaver. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 

Slavery in the American Mountain South. By Wilma A. Dunaway. 
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003. 


Appalachian Regional Ministry. 

Celebrating Diversity in Appalachia. 

Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia. 

"The 1990s: An Era of Increasing Diversity within Appalachia." 
The Appalachian Region. 



Coal Black Voices. Produced and directed by Jean Donohue 
and Fred Johnson. Available from Media Working Group, 
2002. "Coal Black Voices is an intimate mosaic of images, 
poetry, and storytelling by the AfFrilachian Poets as 
they give glimpses of life in the American Black South 
and Appalachian region. The ensemble of African- 
American writers challenge simple notions of an all 
white Appalachian region and culture while drawing on 
traditions such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts 
Movement, and experiences of the African Diaspora. The 
poetry of the AfFrilachian Poets celebrates their African 
heritage and rural roots while encompassing themes of 
racism and Black identity. In this documentary they give 
voice to the pleasures of family, land, good food, artistic 
community, music and transformation." 

Evelyn Williams. Directed by Anne Lewis. Available from 
Appalshop, 1995. "Evelyn Williams is 
a portrait of a woman who is many things: a coal miner's 
daughter and wife; a domestic worker and mother of nine; 
a college student in her 50s and community organizer; an 
Appalachian African American. Above all, she is a woman 
whose awareness of class and race oppression has led her 
to a lifetime of activism. Now in her 80s, she is battling to 
save her land in eastern Kentucky from destruction by a 
large oil and gas firm." 

Long Journey Home. Directed by Elizabeth Barret. 
Available from Appalshop, 1987. 
"This documentary explores the ethnic diversity of the 
Appalachian region, the economic forces causing people 
to migrate into and out of the area, and the personal 
choices individuals make to stay, to leave, and to come back. 
European immigrants recall the ethnic variety that existed 
in Appalachia during the first coal boom of the 1910s and 
'20s. African-Americans whose families left sharecropping 
in the deep South to build the railroads and work in the 
mines talk about the transition to life in the coal camps, 
and their later dispersal across the country as automation 
in the mines during the 1950s took their jobs." 


from residents of 
texana^ north Carolina